Opening Act for Congress: raising taxes. January 8, 2009.
2) Constitutional Connection:
Article 1, The Legislative Branch, Section 8, Clause 1
“The Congress shall have the power to lay and collect taxes.”
3) While Congress and the incoming President, Barack Obama, are contemplating many tax cuts in the upcoming years, they are also considering a tax hike, specifically on cigarettes and cigars. While the deficit is certainly something that Congress will want to address, some say that the 156% tax hike on cigarettes will hardly put a dent into the massive debt the country faces.
This article clearly demonstrates Article I, Section 8, Clause I of the United States Constitution. Congress has the power to impose and collect taxes on the American public. This article demonstrates that it is a joint effort to decide which taxes to impose, but ultimately, the power lies in the legislative branch’s hands. The ability to tax is a power that both federal government and individual states posses, therefore, it is a concurrent power. The inability of Congress to impose taxes was one of the biggest weaknesses of the Articles of Confederation, leading to the necessity for a new Constitution.
I couldn’t imagine what government or society would be like if Congress did not have the power to tax. This article is interesting because, essentially, the government is trying to discourage people from buying cigarettes by raising taxes on these specific products. I don’t necessarily think that it is a bad idea because we now know that smoking is very terrible for one’s health. I think the government can discourage smoking by hiking up the prices on packs of cigarettes. It is also interesting that Congress passed a similar bill in 2007, but then President Bush vetoed it. I wonder if Congress does pass the bill, will President Obama sign it?